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STANDARDS COMPLIANT LIGHTING IN THE WORKPLACES

Lighting plays an important role in all industrial manufacturing locations, ensuring the best possible safety conditions for employees 


Sadly, almost every day we hear about serious accidents in many workplaces. In some cases, one of the contributing factors to the accident is a shortcoming or serious defect in the lighting system. For this reason, we believe that the subject of lighting in the workplace is particularly relevant now. It is no coincidence that there are two European regulations governing the subject: UNI EN 12464-1 and UNI EN 12464-2, dedicated to the lighting of workplaces in indoor and outdoor environments respectively. The regulations outline the main lighting parameters to be adhered to during design: average maintained illuminance, illuminance uniformity, glare indices, colour rendering index. The choice of lighting devices is particularly important as the quality of the lighting system depends on them.

 

PROTECTION RATING FOR LIGHTING DEVICES

When selecting lighting devices, the lighting designer’s attention must focus on the spaces to be illuminated. Industrial production takes place in a wide range of indoor and outdoor environments. The use of lighting devices with a high degree of protection (> IP55) is recommended where the presence of pollutants and corrosives in the air and temperature fluctuations at various heights from the floor are anticipated, and also in large, covered spaces and outdoor areas. The increase in installation height, often due to the presence of large machinery, requires the use of lighting devices with high-efficacy light sources and fitted with optics for the most efficient lighting output..

 

RECOMMENDED ILLUMINANCE

As far as lux values are concerned, an average maintained illuminance level of between 200 and 300 lx for health & safety is generally required. Remember that the “average maintained illuminance” refers to the value in lux over a given area and below which the average illuminance must never fall during the service life of the installed system. Illuminances in excess of 200 lx are required on control units, displays, at manual workstations and component assembly stations. Illuminance levels well over 300 lx are required in areas where inspection tasks and manual assembly operations with very small components are carried out. In some cases, up to 1000 or 1500 lx may be required. It is therefore a question of providing diffuse general lighting at 200-300 lx and localised lighting at workstations with higher illuminances.

 

LIGHTING RATIOS

When visual tasks have their own specific location in the working environment, it makes sense (and is in the interests of employee health & safety) to have the higher level of illuminance only in certain areas while illuminating the surrounding area at a lower level. This results in adjacent areas that are affected by different amounts of incident light. These differences should not be too great in the general working environment. Eyesight fatigue is caused when there are large, shadowed areas around the object being observed, i.e., areas with levels of low illuminance that reflect low levels of light radiation, and the greater the differences the more the fatigue. As soon as the eye moves away from the focus of the visual task, the iris’ spontaneous process of adaptation to the luminance of the new point of focus begins. Visual fatigue is caused by the repeated contraction and dilation of the iris, which occurs due to the ciliary muscle changing the shape of the lens and the eyeball to refocus. In order to alleviate eye strain, there should only be a limited difference between the average luminance of the visual task and the surroundings. As required by the regulations mentioned (UNI EN 12464-1), it is important

to set the difference between the localised illuminance on the visual task and the illuminance of the surrounding area. If, for example, the lux on the visual task is greater than 750 it is advisable to have at least 500 lux around it.

 

ILLUMINANCE UNIFORMITY

Another particularly relevant requirement for health & safety is illuminance uniformity, which is the ratio of the minimum illuminance to the average illuminance for general ambient lighting. Good uniformity ensures none of the areas or parts of large surfaces (such as floors or work surfaces) will be poorly lit, with any possible obstructions barely visible or people not easily recognised. For example: the floor of a room must have uniform illumination to make unevenness, discontinuities, differences in level, steps, obstacles and hindrances easily visible.

To ensure light distribution with good uniformity, the ratio between the minimum illuminance and the average illuminance in all areas of the floor must be between 0.6 and 0.5. Therefore, if the average illuminance is 300 lx, the minimum illuminance should not fall below 180 or 150 lx respectively.

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